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Dragon Ball Super: A Surprise Character Leads an Assault on Jiren

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Episode 122 of Dragon Ball Super, "For One's Own Pride! Vegeta's Challenge to Be The Strongest!!" which debuted Saturday on Adult Swim.

The battle for the fate of the Dragon Ball Multiverse in the interdimensional Tournament of Power has finally reached its climax in the latest episode of Dragon Ball Super. Only Universes 7 and 11 remain in the epic martial-arts competition, in which the losers' realities are erased from existence by the omnipotent Grand Zeno while the last universe standing is granted a wish from the Super Dragon Balls. Following the erasure of Universe 4 in the previous episode, Universe 7's roster is down to Goku, Gohan, Vegeta, Frieza and Android 17, while Universe 11 has only Top, Dyspo and Jiren remaining to represent the rival reality.

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Earlier bouts established Jiren as the most powerful warrior in the tournament, capable of standing toe-to-toe against Goku in his newfound Ultra Instinct transformation and defeating all other opponents without breaking a sweat. Top and Dyspo were similarly introduced as formidable fighters in their own right, with the former possessing enormous strength and the latter relying on his blinding speed, making him nearly impossible to track. With only minutes to spare before Zeno threatened to erase all of the participants because they were taking too long, the battle was joined in earnest, with a challenger giving Jiren a surprising amount of trouble.

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Goku powers up to Super Saiyan Blue and begins his rematch against Jiren, and continues to marvel at how strong the Universe 11 Pride Trooper is, even after previously fighting the entire Multiverse's most powerful gods and monsters. Vegeta, who had largely stayed the sidelines rather than engaging Jiren directly, becomes increasingly annoyed. The Saiyan Prince had formed a mentor-student bond with Universe 6's Cabba before it was erased, and vows to use the Super Dragon Balls to restore it. Unhappy with his relative lack of involvement, Vegeta powers up and joins Goku against Jiren.

After Jiren effortlessly pummels Goku, Vegeta engages Jiren by himself and, to the shock of everyone watching, dodges an onslaught of punches to land his own punch against Jiren, a feat Goku had been unable to achieve in his current form. As Vegeta continues to land blow after blow, Piccolo realizes Vegeta's time watching Goku fight his superior opponent had been spent with the Saiyan Prince quietly studying Jiren's fighting style to predict his next attack. However, as Vegeta's current martial arts teacher Whis ponders whether Vegeta will unlock Ultra Instinct for himself, Jiren recovers and nearly blasts Vegeta out of the arena.

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Frustrated, Vegeta vows to defeat Jiren without having to rely on the Ultra Instinct that has eluded him, and instead charges up his signature Final Flash energy attack, daring Jiren to face the attack at its full power. Unimpressed, Jiren agrees, and Vegeta scores a direct hit and is elated when his opponent is apparently floored by the attack. However, to Vegeta's shock, Jiren recovers in an instant, appearing directly in front of Vegeta and laying him out with his own energy attack after complimenting him on his strength.

For much of Dragon Ball Super, Goku and Vegeta have been relatively equal in power levels, both attaining the Super Saiyan Blue form after training together under Whis. The Tournament of Power had seen Goku surpass his longtime frenemy once again by subconsciously unlocking the Ultra Instinct form during his initial bouts against Jiren.

While Vegeta still lacks access to the new transformation himself, he has proved a better tactician, as he repeatedly caught Jiren off-guard and was able to put him on the defensive. Ultimately, this didn't matter that much, as Jiren's superior strength and endurance led to him overpowering the Saiyan Prince. And with only eight minutes left before Zeno erases all the combatants and their respective universes, should no victor emerge, the Z Fighters will have to find new ways to eliminate Universe 11 and survive.

Newly dubbed episodes of Dragon Ball Super air on Saturdays at 11 p.m. ET/PT on Adult Swim.

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